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CAIRO, June 19, 2018 (MENA) - Egyptian Ambassador to Jordan Tarek Adel chaired the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) advisory commission meeting, currently held at the Jordanian Dead Sea resort.

Addressing the meeting, Ambassador Adel asserted the necessity of maintaining UNRWA activities which have become vital for the stability of the hosting countries and amidst very complicated regional conditions.

He also pressed the need for working out successful means to settle the annual financial deficit in the agency's budget.

The ambassador pointed out that the humanitarian aspect of the agency's mission should be sustained and its financial resources reinforced away from any ulterior purposes or political interests.

He also warned against suspending UNRWA activities before reaching a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue based on the accords signed between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, especially the 1993 Oslo Agreement and the 1994 Cairo Agreement which affirmed the final status issues including Al Quds, refugees, water and borders.

The Egyptian diplomat also reviewed the important role of UNRWA in guaranteeing social stability for 1.3 million Palestinians who are receiving health, education and living assistance at the Palestinian refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, sounding the alarm against the serious repercussions of suspending such services in a way that could spread poverty and misery and help in fomenting extremism and terrorism in the Palestinian society.

The Advisory Commission was created by UN Resolution 302 (IV) on 8 December 1949. It is tasked with advising and assisting the Commissioner-General of UNRWA in carrying out the Agency’s mandate. Consisting of four members when it was first created, the Advisory Commission (AdCom) is currently made up of 27 members and three observers.

The commission meets twice a year, usually in June and November, to discuss issues of importance to UNRWA, striving to reach consensus and provide advice and assistance to the Commissioner-General of the Agency.

Members and Observers meet more regularly through the Sub-Committee of the Advisory Commission, where they aim to assist the Advisory Commission in fulfillment of its guidance to the Commissioner-General.

JERUSALEM, June 18, 2018 (News Wires) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman on Monday to discuss regional developments, Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s commitment to maintaining the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem,” the statement said.

 
 
 
 

AMMAN, June 14, 2018 (Reuters) - Jordan’s King Abdullah issued a decree on Thursday forming a new government led by a former World Bank economist and mandated to review a disputed tax system after widespread protests against IMF-driven austerity measures.

Abdullah, a U.S. ally, appointed Omar al-Razzaz, a Harvard- educated economist outside the ranks of the traditional political elite, last week to replace Hani Mulki, a business- friendly politician who was dismissed to defuse public anger that led to some of the largest protests in years.

Thousands of Jordanians took to the streets in Amman and in provincial towns earlier this month against a series of tax rises since the start of the year. Protesters called for sacking the government and scrapping a tax bill which unions and civic groups blamed for worsening poverty and unemployment.

Razzaz’s 28-member cabinet is dominated by a mix of conservative politicians and Western-leaning technocrats who held sway in previous administrations, including seven women, a copy of the royal decree showed.

By the Gazette Editorial Board

Pledging $2.5 billion in aid to Jordan, three Arab Gulf states namely Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE have offered a Marshall-like initiative to that country, to help it out of its economic crisis.

 

This has not been the first time for the Gulf States to rush to the aid of an Arab country including Jordan itself. In fact, Jordan and Morocco were each pledged a similar amount in 2011 by the Gulf Co-operation Council. However, the five-year pledge expired last year.

 

Peaceful protests, sparked by an income tax bill which the government had suggested as part of its austerity plan, led King Abdallah of Jordan to sack the prime minister, in a bid to appease public anger. Saudi Arabia has been quick to act to calm down the furious Jordanian street.

 

Saudi Arabia invited Kuwait and the UAE to a summit in Mecca to discuss an aid package, which includes a central bank deposit, World Bank guarantees, five years of budget support and funding for development projects.

 

Jordan has been struggling to reduce its debt after getting a $723 million loan from the IMF in 2016. The mass protests which broke out in recent days against price hikes and a new income tax system have been very disturbing, not only for Jordan but also for neighbouring Arab countries.

 

Jordan, flanked by Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Saudi Arabia, is a strategically important country by virtue of its geopolitical position. Jordan has been affected by regional turmoil which forced it to receive an influx of refugees who fled the wars in neighbouring Syria and Iraq. Moreover, Jordan is hosting almost two million Palestinian refugees.

 

The cash-strapped government has been strained by problems related to high unemployment and the burden of hosting such a high number of refugees.

 

In fact, the show of unity demonstrated by the Gulf Arab countries is a model that should have a wider scope and be part of a systematised plan of action.

 

The support which the Gulf states have lent Jordan follows, to some extent, the example of the EU bailout plan for Greece, which has continued to date, in response to the refugee situation in Greece.

 

These same Arab countries also stood behind Egypt after the 2013 revolution to help it stand on its feet following a very difficult phase of political, social and economic instability.

 

Hopes for a fully-fledged economic Arab unity had been high in the wake of the establishment of the Arab League in 1945.  And now more than 70 years later, this unity is still a dream, although there are many situations in which inter-Arab fraternity and support are at their best.

AMMAN, Jordan, June 10, 2018 (News Wires) — The European Union’s foreign policy chief has assured Jordan of continued financial support, saying it’s an investment in stabilizing an ally in the “most heated and difficult area of the world.”

Federica Mogherini visited Jordan just days after protests against proposed tax increases brought down the kingdom’s prime minister.

Mogherini told a news conference in Jordan’s capital Sunday that it’s up to Jordanians how to carry out reforms, but that addressing tax evasion is key to a functioning economy.

Jordan is increasingly in debt and dependent on foreign aid, at a time when regional crises have helped drive an economic downturn.

Later Sunday, Saudi Arabia is hosting a meeting of Gulf Arab countries to offer support to Jordan. Gulf countries, once an important donor, haven’t offered any funding this year.

RIYADH, June 9, 2018 (News Wires) — Saudi Arabia says it will host a meeting among several Gulf Arab countries to offer support to Jordan after it faced mass protests over the kingdom's economic problems and its plans to tax its citizens.

The Saudi Royal Court said the meeting today in Mecca would include Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

A statement early Saturday on the state-run Saudi Press Agency said the meeting would "discuss means of supporting Jordan to overcome its current crisis."

That likely means cash from the oil-rich nations to Jordan, which has experienced an economic downturn. Rising unemployment has hurt Jordan's economy, as has taking in a large number of refugees from war-wracked Syria and Iraq.

Jordan's King Abdullah II has replaced the country's prime minister over the protests.

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